Despite the rainy weather in the UK, us Brits adore our drop-tops – in fact we’re one of the biggest markets for convertibles around the world.
This means there’s no shortage of options to choose from if you’re on the used market, so if you’re looking for a convertible to enjoy the remainder of summer with, there are plenty available for less than £10,000. Here are 7 great options.
What better place to start with the best-selling 2-seat roadster to date – the Mazda MX-5. If you’re after something fun, small and affordable to run this summer, this Mazda should definitely be on your shortlist.
A £10,000 budget could buy you any of the 4 generations of the MX-5, and while the first-generation (sold between 1989 and 1997) is arguably the most desirable, tidy and original examples are hard to find. For this reason, we’d go for a tidy low-mileage example of the third-generation, also known as the ‘NC’. It gains a few more creature comforts than its predecessor, yet remains a joy to drive.
Audi TT Roadster
Audi knows how to make desirable convertibles, and the TT is no exception. This convertible is fun to drive and doesn’t compromise on quality.
Both first- and second-generation TTs are available for less than £10,000, and both are great choices, so it’s really down to which you prefer. The first cars are more bubble-shaped, whereas the second generation adopts a more angular look and with a cabin that feels more modern.
Looks are important with any convertible, but if styling is your priority, you can’t get much better than the Fiat 500C.
While arguably not a proper convertible as the roof retracts back – rather than folds properly – you’re still able to enjoy the fresh air in this Fiat. It’s cheaper to run than its more sporty competitors too, thanks to its small engines. It’s worth looking for a high-spec Lounge version, which are much better-equipped than entry-level ‘Pop’ models.
A £10,000 budget can stretch a long way on the used market – and it could even get you behind the wheel of a Porsche. While the 911 is undoubtedly more desirable, the smaller Boxster is definitely worth considering if you want something that feels special to drive.
Both first- and second-generation cars (known as the 986 and the 987 respectively) are available with this budget. Our choice would be the latter, which looks more modern and offers better performance thanks to more powerful engines. While low mileage examples can be tempting, don’t dismiss those that have covered more miles, as a full service history and extensive maintenance is key on these cars.
Mercedes has one of the most extensive line-ups of convertibles of any manufacturer, and the car at the helm is the SL. It’s a model that dates all the way back to the 300SL of the 1950s, and remains a supremely luxurious drop-top that’s ideal for long road trips.
A new SL today would cost you an eye-watering £80,000, but you can usually find a bargain by looking at used models. There are plenty to choose from for less than £10,000, but our choice would be the generation known as the R230, which was sold between 2001 and 2011. Look out for an SL 500, which features a 5.0-litre V8 engine that makes a superb sound. Just set aside a good chunk of money for the inevitably expensive bills.
Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet
While luxurious and sporty convertibles have lots of appeal, what about the more everyday option? Well, there are plenty available –the Volkswagen Golf Cabriolet being a great example.
It’s not all that fun to drive, but it’s well-built, looks good and is one of few convertibles that can actually seat 4 adults in comfort (most of the models on this list are 2-seaters). It’s also available with diesel engines. Sure, that might clash with the idea of a convertible, but if you want something exceptionally cheap to run, it’s a great choice – the 1.6-litre TDI engine returns more than 60mpg and costs just £30 per year in tax.
Mini is one of the biggest players in the drop-top world, and its Convertible is a seriously appealing choice. Whether you’re looking at the efficient Cooper D or the fiery John Cooper Works version, you won’t be disappointed with this Mini.
A £10,000 budget gives you plenty of options to choose from, but our pick would be the Cooper S . This is a good middle ground between performance and reasonable running costs, as it’ll hit 60mph in a claimed 7.3 seconds, yet still return more than 45mpg. Whichever version you go for, though, you’re guaranteed to have a smile on your face when driving this Mini.